WORK is due to start on the new Battle Methodist Church building, 15 months after the congregation left the old chapel in Lower Lake.
This week the church was given the go-ahead to build its new home, to be called The Emmanuel Centre, on land next to Harrier Lane.
Back in November 2007, church members decided to leave their place of worship after nearly 200 years because the poor fabric of the building, its size and shape, the lack of parking and difficulty of access all severely limited its purpose for the 21st century.
The church considered using an existing hall in the town, but decided to build a new centre, which could also be used for the community.
Church members raised the funds with help from local and national bodies and grant-making trusts.
The old chapel was sold and the congregation moved to The Senlac Inn for Sunday worship.
Residents in the Harrier Lane area were consulted and members visited recently-built churches and halls all over the UK before designing the new building and car park.
The new site was purchased last August.
Rother District Council had already granted planning permission for the project and now the South-East Methodist District has been satisfied that everything is in place it has given permission for the work to begin.
Work on the one acre site is expected to start at the end of March, with the new complex to open by the end of the year.
A new road from Harrier Lane will provide access to the Emmanuel Centre.
The new church will have two levels. The lower part will comprise a welcome area with tables and chairs where refreshments can be served, a kitchen, toilets, and an office. The upper section will have level access from the outside because of the slope of the land. Two larger halls, which can be opened into one, will seat up to 150 people, and include a worship area. This level will also have a quiet room.
The eco-friendly building will also have disabled access, a large car park and have open areas outside.
The design of the building will enable future extensions.
Rev David Freeland, of Battle Methodist Church, said: “We have received wonderful encouragement from other churches in Battle, elsewhere in the country, and even overseas, from countless individuals, and also from Battle Town Council and Battle Local Action Planning Group.
“More information can be found on the Church’s website www.bmc.btck.co.uk – and if you would like to help contribute to the last 4 per cent of funds needed to complete the work you can ‘buy a brick’ on that site.”